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Shirdi : Ahmednagar district, Maharashatra

Abode of the charismatic Shri Saibaba, Shirdi is the mystical town fragrant with the devotional intensity that sees devotees from across the world thronging to this small hamlet. Highly placed on the world map of spirituality, Shirdi is located in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra and close to the holy city of Nasik. Such is the devotional strength of the place that even a casual visitor cannot remain unaffected by the faith and conviction of the devotees on Saibaba. Bereft of any religious narrowness, Saibaba was essentially an Indian Guru, a Fakir who was regarded by both Hindu and Muslim communities. He worshipped both at temples and mosques and encouraged tolerance between both the faiths. His life and teachings are wonderful semblance of both faiths.

Saibaba is believed to have arrived at the village of Shirdi when he was about sixteen years old. He took up residence in a Khandoba temple, where a villager (Mahalsapathi) at worship first called him Sai ("saint"). Bearing an extremely simple and ascetic life, Sai Baba lived in the village as a mendicant monk. His inherent charisma soon began attracting followers. He has been attributed numerous miracles which still live expanding the list of his devotees. Today Saibaba temples are all across India and even beyond. Devotees have established Sai temples in countries like Canada and Cuba.

Location: Ahmednagar district, Maharashatra
Climate: Dry Climate
Temperature: Max - 40oC, Min - 7oC
Languages: Marathi, Hindi and English
Best Time to Visit: June to August (Monsoons)
Special Day: Every Thursday
Attractions: Samadhi Mandir, Guru Sthan, Khandoba Temple
Nearest Airport: Aurangabad (144km)
STD Code: 02423 

very high resolution sai baba poster right click to save & print
Darshan Having a Darshan or a look at Shri Saibaba, when in Shirdi is heavenly in itself. The sheer calmness and serenity that peeps through the white marble statue of this saint hypnotizes you and initiates you into a mystical and spiritual journey that imparts a new meaning to your existence.

With thousands of devotees that queue up to have a look at this heavenly visage, the timings for Darshan are fixed by the Sai temple authorities. You must get acquainted with this before you go for a darshan of Shri Sai Baba.

Samadhi Temple that houses the statue of Shri Saibaba opens for public Darshan at 5am, when the temple opens. You need to be there well before 4am since a long queue is already there for a moment's glance of Sai Baba. It is the time when "Utha utha Sakala Jana" a melodious prayer is played on audio cassette. Exactly at 5.15am Kakad arati begins as a request to Lord Sai to wake up and give His merciful glances to His devotees.

After the Kakad Aarati, the Samadhi and the Idol of Shri Sai is offered Mangal Snan (Holy bath) with milk, curd, honey, sugar, ghe and warm perfumed water. After this Baba is offered Shodashopachar pooja leading to aarti. From 7.10am you can have full darshan of Shri Saibaba and also make offerings such as flowers, garlands, coconut, sweets, etc. Saibaba darshan continues till 11.45am.

Between 12 and 12.30pm Mahadhyan aarti or Noon arati is performed. After this aarti, once again Sai darshan begins and devotees line to have a glance of Sai Baba. Darshan continues through Dhup aarti or Sunset aarti. The timings of Dhup aarti changes as per the orientation of Sun and thus it changes through different seasons.

After Dhup aarti, at around 10am Shej aarti is done, which is the preparation for Saibaba to retire for the day. The temple is closed by 10.20pm. You can have regal darshan of Saibaba's padukas or sacred footwear on Thursdays and on special days. During these times a majestic procession is held in all pomp and show with Saibaba's padukas kept along with his portrait is carried in a royal palanquin from Samadhi Mandir to DwarkaMai and Chawri.

Tips for Sai Devotees

Shirdi attracts thousands of pilgrims every day. Devotees as well as simple tourists looking for spiritual gateway throng this holy land of Shri Saibaba. With such a large number of people at this small place, mostly ignorant of the place and culture of the region, the devotees must know some of the tips when they are in Shirdi. Shirdi attracts thousands of pilgrims every day. Devotees as well as simple tourists looking for spiritual gateway throng this holy land of Shri Saibaba. The first 'darshan' of the day, resumes after the morning program of worship (Morning aarti, Mangal Snan, Shodashopachar ) at around 7am. During this Darshan you can make offerings.

Prior registration is mandatory before you make any offering at the temple. Each gift item must be registered in the Donation Office of the temple. Devotees can donate cash either in the Donation Office (with due receipt) or put it directly into one of the donation boxes, placed at all important places of temple complex. Photography of any kind still or moving is strictly prohibited during Mangal Snan (Holy bath) of Baba and Aartis (all four aartis). Devotees may take photographs during the hours of darshan only, for video recording a prior permission of the Temple-in-charge is a must. There is by and large no restriction on darshan during the day in Dwarkamai masjid, Chawri, Gurusthan and Nanda deep except a few minutes while attending to the dhuni or offering food to Shri Sai.

In Chawri ladies are not allowed to enter the section where Baba used to retire to sleep in old times. The main temple (Samadhi Mandir) is open from 5am to 10.30pm, where as Dwarkamai masjid, Chawri, Gurusthan are closed around 8.30pm. On the main day of celebrations on important occasions like Ram Navami, Dussehra, Guru purnima the temple is open throughout the night for darshan. On every Thursday 'Palki' procession takes place at around 9.15 p.m. from Samadhi Mandir to Dwarkamai and then to Chawri.

All the priests and workers in the temples are employees of the Shirdi Sai Sansthan. Therefore, no gifts or donations should be offered to them. Be cautious about the prices while taking the garland, coconut etc (as a package) from the nearby shops. You may avoid being overcharged by them. Avoid the touts for getting an accommodation. It is advisable to approach any hotel/lodge directly. There is a wide choice of hotels/lodges in Shirdi, suiting the budget of all.

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